Davis/Sacramento Go Club

Volume 4 Issue 1 - March 1998

Next Tournament:

Dues: Last Notice

This is the last reminder about dues for 1998. Our budget is small and we cannot afford to continue mailings to non-members. Please make checks for $16.00 payable to Frank Berkenkotter, not the club, as a club bank account would be too expensi ve.

Membership Update

As of 3/12, we have 21 members, 12 down from 1997, but usually more members will appear before the end of the year. The club welcomes Milan Hannon, 12k, and Brian Jang, 2k. Thanks to all the members who have rejoined.

1998 Numbers:





Number of members:



Davis/Sacramento Go Club
c/o Frank Berkenkotter
Box 4, Guinda, CA 95637

The Club Committee:

Frank Berkenkotter


Will Haynes


Steve Burrall


Peter Kent




On March 7, from 9 am to 6 pm, the Davis/Sacramento Go Club held its first tournament of 1998 at the University Union at CSU, Sacramento. There were 17 players in two divisions.

In Division I, Jeff Murphy, 5k, broke a 3-way tie for first with Steve Burrall and Rich Newbold, all with 3-1 records.

Division II was rather orderly by comparison with Phil Kreiss, 9k, winning all his games (4-0) and being promoted to 8 kyu. In second was Geof Crawford at 3-1, and Matt Burrall, 15k, broke a 3-way tie for third with his 2-2 record.

Division I

  1. Murphy 5k


  • S. Burrall, 4d
  • 3-1

  • Newbold, 5k*
  • 3-1

  • Newmiller, 3k
  • 2-2

  • Kent, 1k
  • 2-2

  • Hopkins, 5k
  • 2-2

  • Charles So
  • 2-2

  • Berkenkotter, 3k
  • 2-2

  • Corbett, 3k
  • 1-3

  • Chi Ping Kam, 3k
  • 0-4

    *-- promoted to 4 kyu

    Division II

    1. Kreiss, 9k*


  • Crawford, 8k
  • 3-1

  • M. Burrall, 15k
  • 2-2

  • Hughes, 7k
  • 2-2

  • Hannon, 12k
  • 2-2

  • Philipps, 10k
  • 1-3

  • K. Burrall, 11k
  • 0-4

    *-- promoted to 8 kyu

    Members Conduct Go Workshop

    Members Steve Burrall and Frank Berkenkotter, on the request of None Redmond and the AGA, travelled south to Los Palos High School and conducted Go workshops. Lee Robinson, a social studies teacher and chess coach, wanted Go instructors for his teaching project about games. Steve and Frank conducted 4 teaching sessions (2 each) from November '97 to January '98. The seed of Go was planted as firmly as can be in 4 sessions. In the past 10 years we have sent out offers to local schools to conduct teac hing sessions with but one response. Nonetheless, we are ready to provide teachers and equipment to those requesting our services, should you contact interested parties (but hopefully closer than 200 miles away).

    Computer Ratings System for the Club

    Fred Hopkins has offered to set up a computerized ratings system for our club. After grappling with some complex player pairings in our last tournament, if a computer can do it faster and make more reasonable pairings, I am definitely for that. Such a system would also make for a more orderly ratings system within our club. The only problem is that more than one person needs to be trained in its use so that there will always be an operator at each tournament. Contact Will, Fred, Steve, or Frank wit h coments.

    History of Davis Go - Chapter 1

    by Steve Burrall

    To the best of my knowledge this is an account of the beginning of the club; if there is an earlier chapter, I look forward to seeing it chronicled in a future newsletter by whoever was there.

    I moved to Davis in 1981 and rented a house from Prof. Marya Welch at 807 Miller Dr. After living next to Ace Barash (an ex-pupil of the infamous "tweet") the previous year and absorbing his enthusiasm for Go, I was motivated to start having weekly Go sessions at my house. I don't recall how I came in contact with the regular players; Frank was probably instrumental in this regard. In any case, it was a somewhat more varied and volatile group than the current good-natured bunch (Frank being the only holdover other than myself). There was Dave Cacela, a witty young man who seemed to me to play with barely-contained anger and white-knuckle tension.

    There was James Ullrey who was also an angry guy but didn't bring his anger to the Go board. Instead, he always seemed bitter about his place in the universe, his considerable talents seemingly applied with bad timing or wrong targets. There was Jona than Borah, a grizzled woodcutter who straggled out of the wilderness each week to play Go. Lucky for us kyu players there was the trio of elderly Japanese dan players: George Okamoto, Noburo Aoki and Richard Nakamura. They spent the evening cheerfully killing our groups (more about these guys in chapter 2).

    [This article will be continued in the next issue.]

    Booth at the Whole Earth Festival

    Again this year an application was sent in for our having a booth at WEF in Davis. The dates will be May 8, 9 & 10. About 4 or 5, preferably more, helpers will be needed to be Go sensei to answer questions by passerby, over the three days. The festival is held in the Quad area of the UC Davis campus. Last year, many club members came by and much Go was played. If that gets boring, there is almost continuous music of all kinds, as well as food, and an endless stream of passersby. So mark your calendars. I have 3 folding chairs and one set of sawhorse legs, and need several more folding chairs, 30"x8' plywood for tables or folding tables. Do Not Forget to Bring Go Sets! See you there.

    Computer Go, Part 3

    by Peter Kent

    So anyway, I believe the solution, as a basic concept, is to keep an updated total of all two-eyed paths of each color which cross through a potential play, and pass through any given empty point or connect to any given existing strand (I call groups of connected stones of the same color "strands" to avoid confusion with groups) of a friendly color within a certain, but redefinable, range of number of turn cycles needed to form a path. The totals are then looked at from the perspective of a particular strand or empty point to see how many paths go through each potential play, saving that strand (or occupying that point). Then the potential plays are examined to see how much damage each does to the enemy two-eyed paths connecting each pt or strand, and how much it helps friendly two-eyed paths connecting each strand or point, factoring in the size of all the strands, and the number of other potential plays which would accomplish the same result of saving each strand or point with the same size path. I don't have an exact formula for it yet, pending feedback from the program when it actually plays go. But basically, each potential play helps secure some amount of territory, and hinders the opponent from securing some amount of territory. The value o f the move can be figured out by calculating separately how much it helps secure each given point and strand, each with its particular size. And, the sente value for saving/dooming (e.g.) a particular strand can be determined from a percentage of the paths accomplishing that same thing which go through the potential play, in the context of a list of other potential plays ordered by the percentage of paths through each, accomplishing the same thing.

    These paths include the potential stone placements needed to capture existing or potential enemy strands, plus the stones needed after the capture to connect the friendly enemy-surrounding stones into a two-eyed path. Also, likely to be included in any given path, especially in close quarters, with a shortage of liberty situation or capture race, are the stone placements needed to surround a potential enemy strand which makes up part or all of the stones which would capture a potential friendly strand. In addition to paths through any given, one, potential play, there is also needed, in order to get a more accurate sente value as mentioned above, the totals for two-eyed paths through each pair of potential plays. And time and memory permitting, paths through three points, four points etc., (perhaps more in local situations).

    The reason I wrote "as a basic concept" in the first sentence is that in practice there is not enough CPU time and memory at this time to traverse all the two-eyed paths each turn, without having too small a scope of consideration. So sacrifices and approximations have to be made using paths with no eyes, or one eye, depending on the local situation. And sometimes longer paths have to be ignored. In any case, the longest zero-eyed path I'll be dealing with in the forseeable future is seven, which, radiating from a potential play makes a diamond-shaped area of 85 or 113 points on the open board, depending on which player's paths are being considered. And it extends quite a bit further if the paths join and cross friendly strands. However, it's likely that I'll have to use even shorter paths due to time constraints.

    [This article will be continued in the next issue of the newsletter.]

    AGA Membership

    The club is an affiliate of the American Go Association. If you are interested in individual membership in the AGA, dues are $25 per year. Please write to:

    American Go Association
    P.O. Box 397
    Old Chelsea Station
    New York, NY 10113

    Modified last on July 11, 1998 by Jeff Newmiller.
    (Comments and suggestions welcome.)

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